Regional Queensland has once again been sacrificed for the sake of populism during tonight’s debate on Electoral Redistribution.
The KAP Members Mt Isa Rob Katter and Dalrymple Shane Knuth were devastated by the outcome of the debate which expands the borders of the state’s largest electorates even further.
“This wasn’t about seats, it was about diminishing the rural and regional representation that would have championed development west of the great divide,” Mr Katter said.
“Less regional members means the numbers to build the dams, roads and transmission lines that underpin our primary industries simply aren’t there.
“Everyone would agree that government spending gravitates towards votes in high population areas – the vote tonight exacerbates that.
“Yet it is regional industry enabling projects that create wealth and jobs for all of the state, keep office buildings in Brisbane occupied and keep the urban economy ticking.
“We don’t want tunnels and sports stadiums,” he said.
Mr Katter who already represents an electorate the size of France said the lack of representation is a self-perpetuating problem.
“A lack of representation leads to a lack of investment and then development, ultimately the population declines which as much of a hit to the whole of Queensland as it is for Western dwellers.
“It’s a bitter pill for Western and North Queensland and I hope the Government and Mr Gordon can sleep well at night knowing they had the opportunity to do something right and didn’t take it,” he said.
Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth was perplexed by the lacklustre arguments for the increase in electorate sizes.
“They have single-handedly continued the deficit of policy and investment that has already caused the decline of industry and population.”
While the Government took issue with the weighting of votes proposed by the bill they did little to address the issue.
“If the Government and the member for Cook truly cared about the plight of rural and regional Queensland we would have seen an attempt of a compromise,” Mr Knuth said.
“Instead regional Queensland was silenced.”